December 15, 2005
ALPA: Congress Must Scrutinize Foreign Control of Airlines
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), issued the following statement after Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) announced the introduction of legislation to halt Department of Transportation efforts to change longstanding policies prohibiting foreign interests from exercising control over U.S. airlines without Congressional oversight.
“The Department of Transportation is playing a high stakes game of chicken, daring Congress to stop it from proceeding with back-door policy changes at a breakneck pace. But today, Rep. Oberstar, Rep. LoBiondo, and more than 60 of their colleagues have begun to put the brakes on these efforts, by introducing legislation to stop the Department of Transportation from issuing any rule to increase foreign control of U.S. airlines without a full review by Congress.
“The administration has negotiated what is essentially a business deal with the European Union and it hinges on this rule change. We know that the administration will take care of the powerful. But it’s the Congress that must stand up for the interests of the American people.
“DOT’s proposed action is blatantly inconsistent with Congressional intent to limit foreign control of U.S. airlines. The proposal would grant foreign investors the authority to make critical operational and economic decisions at airlines, including fleet planning, route structure, pricing, and marketing. It completely fails to examine the potential impact on the wages and working conditions of airline employees; airline safety and security; and the ability of U.S. carriers to grow in international markets.
“Moreover, U.S. commercial airlines play a fundamental role in securing our nation. Our country depends on its commercial fleet to transport troops and supplies. Any change to our national security infrastructure should only be done with the full participation of Congress.
“The clock is ticking, but there’s still time for Congress to act. A policy shift of this massive scale demands a thorough and complete review by Congress on behalf of all of the American people. We urge every member of Congress to carefully review the proposal and sign on to this legislation to ensure a vigorous public debate.”
ALPA represents 63,000 airline pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440, or firstname.lastname@example.org.